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Thursday, 13 October 2005 - Brussels OJ edition

Fishery resources in the Baltic Sea, the Belts and the Sound

  Heinz Kindermann, on behalf of the PSE Group. (DE) Madam President, we endorse the report’s fundamental objective and welcome the intention that changes be made to definitions and various technical provisions. Debates on proposals from the Commission that might lead, in the long or short term, to restrictions being placed on fishing activity, are always heated, and that on this proposal has been no exception. It might not be evident from the outcome of the vote in Committee, but there were a number of points on which a compromise could be reached only after in-depth discussions.

With this in mind, I would like especially to draw attention to Article 12 of the Commission proposal, which deals with restrictions on, and the prohibition of, driftnets. Our group has previously endorsed all attempts to provide for a reduction in the use of these devices or a ban on them, and so it necessarily follows that the same strict rules should apply in the Baltic as in other European Union fishing grounds, in which driftnets have for years been banned in order to give small cetaceans a better chance of survival.

Certain efforts are being made to jeopardise the current ban on driftnets, and these our group repudiates. Day-to-day practice shows, however, that a valid legal framework will only be any good in so far as it is capable of being monitored, simply and effectively, on the ground, in other words, in practice. This, I think, is where the main difficulties lie, and I hope that this legal framework will result in a more vigorous approach to monitoring in future.

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